MINERVA M. SPARROW Correspondence 1943-1959 Part I

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
Minerva M. Sparrow, PMSS Teacher & Housemother, 1943-1946 & 1948-1949

MINERVA M. SPARROW Correspondence 1943-1959
Part I: 1943- August 1946


TAGS: Minerva M. Sparrow Correspondence 1943-1959 Part I; job applications; Mount Holyoke College; Middlebury College; Edna O. Spinney; Rust College; Straight College; English teachers; housemothers; high school students; William D. Webb; Bread Loaf School of English; Mattapoisett, MA; The Pine Cone; Evelyn K. Wells; Congregational Missions; Pine Cone policy; Vera Hackman; Arthur W. Dodd; contracts; journalism; canning; workcampers; weaving; Lester Moore; Dorothy Nace; Margaret Nace; Berdina Bishop; Abbie Winch Christensen;


The Minerva M. Sparrow (1882-1968) correspondence helps to complete some of the gaps in her biography as well as develop a profile of her work at Pine Mountain Settlement School.

She came to Pine Mountain in 1943 when she was sixty-one years old and had already had a distinguished teaching career. She is described by many of the children who were fortunate to have her as an instructor at Pine Mountain, as one of the best teachers they had in their educational years. A teacher of Latin and English, she served as the head of the English department at Straight College (1920-1935) just prior to coming to Pine Mountain. Straight College, a historically black college located in New Orleans, was established to work with freed slaves just following the Civil War. Her experience working with low literacy levels was particularly useful at Pine Mountain where many of the students had few opportunities for schooling until their years at the settlement school.


GALLERY: MINERVA M. SPARROW Correspondence 1943-1959
Part I: 1943- August 1946 (Images 001-024b)


TRANSCRIPTION: MINERVA M. SPARROW Correspondence 1943-1959
Part I: 1943-1946 (Images 001-024b)

NOTE: The text has been slightly edited. Indecipherable text is indicated with [?].

[sparrow_m_001.jpg] Application for Teaching Position, page 1 of 2

[Header: PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL, PINE MOUNTAIN, HARLAN COUNTY, KENTUCKY; APPLICATION FOR TEACHING POSITION….]

NAME: Minerva M. Sparrow
DATE: March 6, 1943
DATE OF BIRTH: 1882

HEALTH: 1940 — I’ve had three or four days with flu when it was prevalent in the city in which I was staying. I can’t remember when I have been ill before. Health excellent.

EDUCATION – – TRAINING

PREPARATORY OR HIGH SCHOOL…: New Bedford High School 1896-1900
COLLEGE OR NORMAL SCHOOL….: Mount Holyoke College 1900-1904 AB
GRADUATE SCHOOL….: Graduate studies at Radcliffe & Harvard & Middlebury — Middlebury College – 1927 MA

TRAVEL IN U.S. AND ABROAD…. I have traveled over much of the country east of the Mississippi River, been twice to California, staying seven months the first time and four the second. I spent the summer of 1929 traveling through Europe.

MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY: Latin
MINOR FIELD OF STUDY: English

LAST THREE POSITIONS HELD:

Rust College — Teacher of Latin — 1910-1911
Rust College — Teacher of English — 1918-1920
Straight College — Head of English Department — 1920-1935

INTERESTS… :

Books — Have had some experience in library work
Music

[sparrow_m_001a.jpg] Application for Teaching Position, page 2 of 2

State your experience with rural life.

The first school I taught was a one-room country school of eight grades. I was everything from teacher to keeper of the fire. The second school was in a Massachusetts village — a central community school with children coming in from the surrounding country on buses.

State briefly how you became interested in Pine Mountain and why you wish to become a member of the staff.

My interest in Pine Mountain is due wholly to the letters which my friend, Miss [Edna O.] Spinney, has written me this year. The work seems most worthwhile and in line with my years of teaching in church schools in the South.

Do you apply for a volunteer or salaried position?

Salaried

If salaried, what is the smallest sum you could accept?

Whatever the school can pay or regularly pays.

GIve names and addresses of three persons who could tell us of your work and character. (Do not include name of your pastor)

  1. Miss Lydia Edgerly, Selbyville, Delaware 
  2. Mr. Ludwig Larsen, Tougaloo, Mississippi (Dean of Straight college while I was there)
  3. Miss Edna O. Spinney
  4. Miss Frances L. Yocom, Lisk University, Nashville, Tenn. 

Additional remarks:

Though during my last twelve years at Straight College I taught only college classes, I had charge of the practice teachers who taught high school classes and also planned and worked out with the regular high school teachers the courses and the objectives of our work so I am familiar with that.

IMPORTANT – Please enclose a recent photograph. This is very important.

[sparrow_m_002.jpg] Reference Request, page 1 of 2

[Header: PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL, Pine Mountain, Kentucky]

March 19, 1943

Miss Minerva M. Sparrow has applied for a position as housemother and/or teacher of English at this School and has given your name for reference.

We shall appreciate it if you will underline in each group below one or more statements which you think most accurately characterize the candidate. Additional comments would be greatly appreciated….

[Respondent underlined the characteristics that described the candidate in each of the following categories:]

HEALTH AND PHYSICAL MAKE-UP
JUDGEMENT
SELF-CONTROL
OPEN-MINDEDNESS
ABILITY TO COOPERATE AND INSTITUTIONAL LOYALTY

[sparrow_m_002a.jpg] Reference Request, page 2 of 2

INITIATIVE AND RESOURCEFULNESS
BREADTH OF INTEREST
PERSONAL HABITS OF NEATNESS AND ORDERLINESS
APPEARANCE
CULTURE AND INNATE REFINEMENT

If possible please make a statement regarding the applicant’s vocational experience and his educational record.

[Typewritten entry] Miss Sparrow is an unusually fine person and an excellent teacher of both English composition and literature. In composition she stresses and accomplishes two things: accurate careful writing and intelligent thinking. In literature she helps her pupils to understand and enjoy good reading. She prepares conscientiously. She is a keen person intellectually and has a personality which makes her a “real teacher.”

I have been with her at home, at camp, and in long trips in her car. She enjoys roughing it in the out-of-doors.

Signature: [Signed] Lydia Edgerly
Official position: I taught English under Miss Sparrow for 4 years.
Date: March 23, 1943

[Footer: PRINT SHOP, PINE MOUNTAIN, KENTUCKY]

[sparrow_m_003.jpg] & [sparrow_m_003a] Reference Request, pages 1 and 2

[Respondent underlined the characteristics that described the candidate in each of the categories listed for images 002 and 002a.]

If possible please make a statement regarding the applicant’s vocational experience and his educational record.

Miss Sparrow is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and holds a Master’s Degree in English from Radcliffe. My knowledge of her teaching comes from several years contact with her at Straight College in New Orleans. She took great interest in the whole student and tried to develop the good qualities which she found in each one. Though her students may have found her standards hard to attain, they ended by appreciating her and loving her. She comes from one of the old seafaring families of the Cape Cod region, whose characteristics of determination, forthright speech, and courageous optimism have appeared again in this one of their descendants. You will be doing your school a favor by adding her to your staff.

Signature: [Signed] Frances L. Yocom
Official position: Associate-Librarian, Fisk University
Date: March 22, 1943

[sparrow_m_004.jpg] & [sparrow_m_004a] Reference Request, pages 1 and 2

[Respondent underlined the characteristics that described the candidate in each of the categories listed for images 002 and 002a.]

If possible please make a statement regarding the applicant’s vocational experience and his educational record.

Miss Sparrow was Professor of English at Straight College, New Orleans, until that institution was merged with another to form Dillard University. During my thirteen years there as Dean, I came to know her work intimately. She taught the College English and supervised the practice teaching in the High School. I consider her the best teacher of English that I have known in forty years of experience. She is a woman of fine Christian character, very thorough and conscientious and at all times having in view the best good of her students. In cannot speak too highly of her.

Signature: [Signed] Ludwig T. Larsen
Official position: Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Tougaloo College. Formerly Dean of Straight College.
Date: March 24, 1943.

[sparrow_m_005.jpg] Handwritten Letter

Mattapoisett, Mass.
March 6, 1943

Mr. William [D.] Webb
Acting Director
Pine Mountain Settlement School
Pine Mountain, Kentucky

My dear Mr. Webb:
The application blank which Miss Spinney kindly enclosed in her last letter to me I have filled out and am returning to you. I have no recent photograph to enclose. As you will see, I am not young, a year younger than Miss Spinney, but as vigorous in mind and body as she is. Perhaps I should also explain that my absence from the school room from 1911 to 1918 was due to illness in the family. In 1935 I gave up teaching to care for my mother in her frail old age.

Miss Spinney has known me since we studied together at Middlebury, the Bread Loaf School of English, to be exact. She knows my strength and my weakness from long years of close association and friendship and can add color and detail to the plain facts of this application.

Yours truly,
Minerva M. Sparrow

[sparrow_m_006.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

March 13, 1943

In writing in behalf of Miss Minerva M. Sparrow as applicant for the position of teacher of English at Pine Mountain School, I wish to put first her very fine qualities of character and her clear-thinking mind. I knew her first at Bread Loaf Summer School of English, and I can say honestly that she was looked up to there by both professors and fellow-students as the clearest and most logical thinker in the school. They were also impressed by her modesty and reserve. Intellectually she stands high.

She has spent her entire teaching life in the missionary schools of the South where she has learned how to deal sympathetically and wisely with poorly prepared students and also gained the respect and affection of fellow staff-members. She never indulges In tale chatter nor offers an ill-considered opinion. Her standards are high and she lives up to what she believes.

From my knowledge of the Pine Mountain spirit gained this year I believe that Miss Sparrow will bring to the School a strong Christian character plus superior intellectual standards, along with the sense of humor and interest in young people that is a part of every true teacher’s equipment.

In these war-days I believe that Pine Mountain will be fortunate in gaining a teacher of Miss Sparrow’s calibre.

(Statement made by Miss Edna O. Spinney, housemother at Big Log dormitory.)

[sparrow_m_007.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

March 23, 1943
Miss Minerva M. Sparrow
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

Dear Miss Sparrow:
Thank you for your letter of March 6th and for the application blank which you enclosed. I am much interested in your application and am glad that you want to be considered for the position of English teacher at Pine Mountain.

I understand that you have received from Miss Spinney some general Information about Pine Mountain and some details about this particular position. There is one other teacher in the English department. The teacher who is leaving has been responsible for dramatics and the Pine Cone, the student monthly newspaper, although those activities do not necessarily have to be carried on by the English teacher. I hope you will ask me any questions you may have in mind about the position.

The salary for this position is $70 a month and maintenance, which includes room, board and laundry.

All our appointments must be approved by a committee of our Board of Trustees. I am waiting to hear from your references before making my recommendation to this committee. As soon as I have their decision I shall get in touch with you again.
I appreciate very much your interest in Pine Mountain,

Sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: William Webb]
Acting Director

[sparrow_m_008.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

March 27, 1943
Miss Evelyn K. Wells
… Shepard House
Wellesley, Massachusetts

Dear Miss Wells :
Miss Martha-Anne Keen has informed me that she does not plan to return to Pine Mountain next year, as she expects to be married in June to Mr. Malcolm Arny.

Through Miss Edna Spinney, housemother at Big Log, I have been in touch with Miss Minerva Sparrow, and I am recommending that she be appointed as English teacher at a salary of $70 a month. Her papers in triplicate are enclosed. I am writing Miss Sparrow and suggesting that she try to arrange to meet you personally. I hope this will be convenient for you.

Yours sincerely,
[Unsigned]

[sparrow_m_009.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

March 27, 1943
Miss Minerva M, Sparrow
Mattapoisett
Massachusetts

Dear Miss Sparrow:
I have today recommended to the Personnel Committee of our Board of Trustees your appointment as teacher of English at Pine Mountain.

I am not quite sure of the location of Mattapoisett (Miss Spinney has just left for a short vacation, so is not available to ask), but believe you are not a great distance from Wellesley. It has occurred to me that it would be very helpful if you could see Miss Evelyn Wells at … Shepard House, Wellesley, Massachusetts. Miss Wells is Chairman of the Personnel Committee of our Board, and was for many years school secretary at Pine Mountain. She is in a position to give you first hand information which I think you would find quite valuable. I have told Miss Wells that I am making this suggestion to you. I am also sending you under separate cover some of our literature.

May I say again that I am very glad for your interest in Pine Mountain,
Sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: William Webb]
Acting Director

[sparrow_m_010.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 1 of 2

Mattapoisett, Mass.
April 4, 1943

Mr. William D. Webb
Pine Mountain Settlement School
Pine Mountain, Ky.

My Dear Mr. Webb:
The literature on the Pine Mountain Settlement School and its plans and objectives arrived yesterday. I have read all the papers with great interest and a deepening appreciation of what you are doing. These and the letters which Miss Spinney has written during the past year, when neither she nor I had the slightest idea that I might have more than a purely objective interest in the school, have given me a very good general idea of the purpose of the school and the life you live there…

[sparrow_m_010a.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 2 of 2

…within its bounds. Of course if I am appointed by your Board, I shall wish a more detailed outline of the English work and doubtless shall have at that time more questions, which in the present uncertainty it seems a waste of time to ask.

Thank you for writing me about Miss Wells. A trip from here to Wellesley is a long and roundabout journey just now because of limited train service and the many changes involved. I may be able to make an appointment to meet her in Boston later. I shall try to see her.

I learned from the October Notes that we have a slight bond of fellowship. You are under appointment to serve under the American Board of Congregational Missions and I have served seventeen years under the home board of the Congregational Missions, the A.M.A.

I hope when the time comes that you can go to South Africa. Your years of service there may be as full and rewarding as mine in the house field have been. In the meantime I am sure this Pine Mountain Settlement School offers a rich interim for both you and Mrs. Webb.

Yours cordially,
Minerva M. Sparrow

[sparrow_m_011.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

April 15, 1943
Miss Minerva M, Sparrow
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

Dear Miss Sparrow :
Thank you for your letter of April 4th. I have not yet had word from our Board of Trustees and have been wondering if you have been successful in making an appointment with Miss Wells? I realize the difficulties of traveling these days, but think that, in view of the fact that the trip to Wellesley is so difficult, your suggestion of meeting Miss Wells in Boston is a good one, This would, of course, be at our expense.

I am sorry to keep you waiting longer, but I do feel that, since I wrote Miss Wells of my suggestion to you, she may be waiting to hear from you.

Your interest in the work being done here makes me happy.
With all good wishes,

Sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: William Webb]

[sparrow_m_012.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

April 30, 1943
Miss Minerva Sparrow
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

Dear Miss Sparrow:
I am very happy to tell you that your appointment as English teacher for the coming year has been approved by our Board of Trustees, although Miss Wells is still hoping to have a chance to talk with you.

I realize that Pine Mountain is very fortunate in being able to secure your services. I am very glad for your interest in Pine Mountain and shall look forward to working with you next year.

In a few days I shall send you a general outline of work and an agreement with the School covering salary, general duties, etc.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely,
[Unsigned: William Webb]

[sparrow_m_013.jpg] Typewritten policy statement

Pine Cone Policy

The Pine Cone is first of all a student publication in both composition and make-up; however, its circulation extends to a nation-wide constituency. This extended circulation gives student journalists a marvelous opportunity to interpret their school (in its larger aims) to the campus community, to the surrounding community, and to the community of distant friends who support the school.

The policy of the publication must develop from an understanding of its reading public and of the probable reactions of that public, To determine that policy will be a truly educative experience for the Pine Cone staff. This situation parallels that of the press world.

Several concrete suggestions follow:

1. The whole experience of publishing the Pine Cone should be educative for each member of the staff. Furthermore, a position on the staff is a social responsibility.
2. Students like the newspaper format and a page devoted to student expression of opinion. This student forum feature might well appear as an insertion in the campus edition only. ( Part of the educative experience will be to learn how to express opinion clearly and yet inoffensively.)
3. Community students should find an excellent medium in the Pine Cone for carrying community thinking to the campus and for extending information to the community. Resourceful community group students under proper guidance will be able to work out details.
4. Creative work might be preserved in a semi-annual supplement or pamphlet of magazine format with illustrations as well as literary material – the whole an artistic production,
5. The publication should appear monthly or semi-monthly (preferably) and on time to insure greatest educative value.
6. The staff should be chosen from the entire student body taking into consideration ability to write, interest, and skill in printing. (for some members)
7. A student body of 125 students can hardly produce more than one good publication; Therefore, the paper should be truly representative of all student interests and be stimulating to all student talent,
8. Both staff and faculty adviser should always welcome suggestions from the Principal, from the teaching staff, and from the student body.
9. Staff and faculty adviser would rely upon the judgment of the Director in the final editing.

Vera Hackman
Arthur [W.] Dodd

[sparrow_m_014.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

May 4, 1943
Miss Minerva Sparrow
Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

Dear Miss Sparrow:
I am enclosing an agreement in duplicate which we have drawn up. If it meets with your approval, I should appreciate your signing both copies and returning them to this office.

Mr. Dodd, our Principal, will send you an outline of your work in a few days. He has charge of the printing this year and is very busy at the moment, but he will take care of it very soon.

With best wishes,
Cordially yours,
[Unsigned: William Webb]

[sparrow_m_015.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

[Header] PINE MOUNTAIN SETTLEMENT SCHOOL, INC.
PINE MOUNTAIN, HARLAN COUNTY, KENTUCKY
Acting Director, WILLIAM D. WEBB
Director, Lt. GLYN A. MORRIS, Chaplain, U. S. Army
Treasurer, C. N. MANNING, Lexington, Kentucky

May 5, 1943

Dear Miss Sparrow:
The Board of Trustees of the Pine Mountain Settlement School has authorized me to employ you as Teacher in the Academic Department for the school year beginning, September 1, 1943, and ending May 31, 1944. In payment for your services, which will include teaching English, supervising Pine Cone, and such other teaching duties as may be reasonably requested, you will receive $70.00 per month; meals in the Laurel House dining room; room at Big Log, including heat and light; a reasonably limited amount of such laundry as you care to send to the school laundry; four garments ironed per week at the laundry; together with a vacation of two weeks at Christmas time, with pay, beginning and ending with such dates as shall be announced by the School. Also, you will be released from your regular duties each Saturday and Sunday, and for an average of two weekends each semester, for which you will sign up with the staff committee chosen by the staff for this purpose.

This letter, a duly signed copy of which is retained by you, is our mutual contract.

Sincerely yours,
[Signed: William Webb]
Acting Director

[Signed: Minerva M. Sparrow]
Signature
[Signed: Evelyn K. Wells]
Chairman of the Personnel Committee

[sparrow_m_016.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

May 6, 1945
Miss Minerva Sparrow
Mattapoisett
Massachusetts

Dean Miss Sparrow:
We are delighted to learn that you will be a member of our staff next year, and we trust that you will come to enjoy life in our valley as much as Miss Spinney has.

It is a little early to make an exact schedule for next fall, with war time adjustments that have to be made all along the way. However, I feel that the enclosed material will be helpful even at this distance in giving you both an overall conception of our general philosophy of education and how it was reached, as well as a general idea of what was encompassed in three of the English classes. The Junior English will be taught by Miss [Edith] Cold, our librarian.

I should like very much to have you steer the Senior class in journalism. This is in addition to their Literature and is usually called the Pine Cone class. It meets four hours each week. I have included with the materials our working policy and two recent issues of the paper. The printing, as you probably know, is done in our shop.

As you dip into this material other questions are sure to arise and I shall do my best to answer them for you. We like to think of these course plans as being flexible enough to permit enrichment and trust that you will so consider them.

I would appreciate it if you would preserve the course outlines as some are only copies and others are first copies.

Please feel free to write me about any matter that isn’t clear,

Sincerely yours,
[Unsigned: Arthur Dodd]
Principal

[sparrow_m_017.jpg] Handwritten letter
Mattapoisett, Mass.
May 9, 1943

Mr. William D. Webb
Pine Mountain Settlement School
Pine Mountain, Kentucky.

My dear Mr. Webb:
It was pleasant to receive the news of my appointment to your school. I have signed the contracts and am returning them in this letter. Whenever Mr. Dodd has the leisure to attend to extra demands, I shall be pleased to have an outline of the work for next year, but there is no need of haste on his part. The summer is before me.

Thank you for your kindly and informing letters. I am anticipating a pleasant school year.

Yours cordially,
Minerva M. Sparrow

[sparrow_m_018.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter
Miss Minerva Sparrow
Mattapoisett
Massachusetts
Dean Miss Sparrow:
I am enclosing your copy of our agreement with you, signed by Miss Wells. She is still hoping, by the way, to see you and suggests that you please let her know when you plan to be in Boston some time during the summer, so that she can try to meet you there.

By now you have undoubtedly received from Mr. Dodd the outline of your work.

With best wishes,
Cordially yours,
[Unsigned: William Webb]

[sparrow_m_019.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 1 of 3

Mattapoisett, Mass.
Aug. 17, 1943

My dear Mr. Webb,
Your kindly letter was like a welcoming hand across the miles. With my ticket and reservations in my purse, I am already to set forth the last day of August. According to Miss Spinney’s suggestions I am leaving the train at Bristol with the expectation of getting a bus for Harlan, where my good friend promises to meet me with bells on.

[sparrow_m_019a.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 2 of 3

I am looking forward to the coming year with great anticipation. Miss Spinney’s letters have led me to feel that it will be a great experience to share[?] in the life and work of Pine Mountain. Your letter suggests we shall have plenty of good things from the garden to eat, thanks to someone’s hard work this summer.

Thank you very much for making it possible for me to room in Big Log with my friend and for the preparations in my behalf.

[sparrow_m_019b.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 3 of 3

I have written Mr. Dodd tonight … the text books for my classes, as I strongly favor “full steam ahead” the first day that class room work begins.

May the school year be all you wish for.

Yours sincerely,
Minerva M. Sparrow

[sparrow_m_020.jpg] Handwritten letter

Dear Minerva: Can you send a bit of literature to
Mrs. Ada Rowden
Box … – Wells River, Vt.?

It is possible that she may be a suitable worker for Pine Mountain. She used to be an excellent teacher when I was 13 years old — and she was 26. [truncated]

[sparrow_m_021.jpg] Carbon copy of typewritten letter

August 1, 1945

Dear Misses [Abbie Winch] Christensen, [Edith] Cold, [Gladys] Hill, Merrill, and [Minerva] Sparrow:
We’ve been wanting to write you each one and tell you the news-of-the-month, but somehow, one’s good intentions do not put pen to paper — so we will take this opportunity to write.

Our July staff was very small — Benjamins, Betty P., Ruth S[?]. Miss Naces, Miss Heebner, Hendersons–and of course Brit [Wilder] and Bill [Hayes]. Mrs. Matthies, instructor at Mt. Holyoke, whom some of you met last summer, is also here for about six weeks. Yesterday the Dodds, Mr. [Glen]LaRue and Helen K. arrived to swell our ranks and only Miss Heebner departs. The campus is very quiet without various camps but there are enough students here to get the work done very comfortably.

Of course when the staff is so small, everyone has added responsibilities. I had charge of the recreation program. Also in Mr. Dodd ‘s absence I had the real thrill of playing the organ for Chapel services. As this was a new experience I spent many happy hours preparing. Margaret has taken over the kitchen in Mrs. [Berdina] Bishop‘s absence and Ruth has stayed on in the bookkeeper’s office. The experience is a very new one for Margaret who has seldom cooked a full meal by herself — but she finds that she knows more about it than she thought…and the girls are well-trained. It is, however, a big job. We have had four big canning days and more will be coming. We got 25 bushels of peaches from a man who came through here last week. Three days have been spent on beans and some beets have been canned also. Tomatoes haven’t started. Pickles and kraut are expected also. We would be doing beans today but a nice, soft, all-day sort of rain made Bill decide against sending the boys out to pick.

Last week our routine was broken by visitors. Twelve workcampers from Stinnett School came on Wednesday afternoon and left Thursday morning on the mail. There were 8 eastern college girls & a Mexican boy and girl, and the men and women who direct the camp. The girls were housed rather informally in the basement of West Wind — five to Mountain Room, etc. The men went to Zande House. They were a very fine group and we enjoyed them so much. We found we had many mutual friends all over the country and many interests In common. One of the directors was much interested in our loom and weavings. He spent three years in Mexico and there he learned and taught weaving to a group of Mexicans.

Lester Moore walked in last week — much to the amazement of those who knew him for[?] he was reported missing once and dead twice. He spent half a day visiting among staff members. He was taken prisoner In the Italian campaign more than two years ago.

We are finally having some of the rain we need so badly. The corn has seemed to stand still this month and the ground was powder dry. We have had several hard quick showers and several all-night rains. Bill says that probably we’ll be as glad to see it stop as we were to see it start! That seems to be the way here!

It doesn’t seem possible that we will be seeing you in less than a month. The summer slips by so quickly! I hope you are all having a good rest and gaining strength for the winter ahead. Margaret joins me in sending greetings,

Sincerely,
[Unsigned: William Webb?]

[sparrow_m_022.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 1 of 4

[Header: SNOW’S POND CAMP, R.F.D., ROCHESTER, MASSACHUSETTS]

June 23, 1946

Dear Dorothy [Nace]:
Before I return home to be immersed again in cleaning and ordering my house and yard, I must acknowledge your good letter, which I found waiting for me in Mattapoisett. As you perhaps have heard from Miss Spinney, we had a leisurely and most satisfying trip to New York, where we parted, she to visit a few days in New York City and I to spend a week with my cousin, who lives not far from there. Then I stopped in Worcester to see my family, so I have been home scarcely a week. Now we, the family and a friend, have been–

[sparrow_m_022a.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 2 of 4

–here at our camp on this little freshwater pond for four days. It is a marvelous place to rest and relax, and I have finally been able to sleep past the six-fifteen rising time.

Pine Mountain days already seem remote, though I dreamed last night I was back and was saying to myself in a rather bewildered tone, “But how do I come to be here? I left for good.”

What a peaceful time “you-all” must be having! None of us under foot interrupting your program. The first shift of students must have departed and the second well on their stint[?]. Aren’t you thankful the plans for the conferences feel through? I feel there would have been as much fault-finding and lack of appreciation of our quiet and simple–

[sparrow_m_022b.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 3 of 4

–way of living, even irritation at restrictions, that the net publicity results would have been “agin” us.

Thanks for forwarding the two magazines. I carefully notified magazines and newspaper over a month in advance of change of address — too early perhaps. You must have a month of Sunday N.Y. Times to throw away. Don’t forward any more of the regular magazines to me, or anything not first class until Christmas time, when some friends may not know of my change. I enclose stamps to cover express and mail charges,

All of my boxes and bundles arrived safely. When I looked at the collection in my kitchen,–

[sparrow_m_022c.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 4 of 4

–I resolved hereafter never to acquire anything and to travel light.

It seems delightful to be skimming about the country at the wheel of my own car. I hope you and Margaret [Nace] can come to New England while the car can still skim and the woman at the wheel still drive. Remember my advice to you two young things not to become permanents at Pine Mountain.

Don’t work too hard either. The year has not been too easy for either of you.

Cordially yours,
Minerva M. Sparrow

[sparrow_m_023.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 1 of 3

Mattapoisett, Mass.
July 22, 1946

Dear Dorothy —
How the summer is slipping by! I didn’t mean to wait as long before sending you the check for Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands, but I have been deep with company — first at camp and last week at home. As proof of how engaged I have been, the book lies on my table still unwrapped, just as it came from the post office.

I seem to remember that you are having your vacation now — you and Margaret, so this will greet you on your return. I hope you have had much rest–

[sparrow_m_023a.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 2 of 3

–and feel like new, and as for food — your mother I know is a marvelous cook and has made all your favorite dishes. Did you take some Creech butter home? My pound stood traveling perfectly and, believe it or not, I am eating the last slice now. I froze it as soon as I reached Mattapoisett, but en route it had many hours off ice. With all my company I feared running short, so last week bought a pound for ninety-five cents! Only company made me pay that exorbitant price, and the next time company will eat jelly or jam.

One of the girls wrote me of the wedding, but I must say her interest was wholly in the cake — no other description and no mention of the bride and groom — so unimportant.

[sparrow_m_023b.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 3 of 3

It seems strange not to be thinking about preparation for return to Pine Mountain, and I shall be wishing I were there opening day, but I know it is wiser as planned. Miss Wells wrote me the nicest note of appreciation — so unexpected and so gracious of her. Words of commendation, even though one knows within that they are not deserved, only a little deserved, do help me from feeling all the thwarted and unfulfilled plans and desires for the year.

English teaching certainly keeps one humble. One of the Co-ops wrote she was “aloud” to go home for three weeks. Miss Motts will wonder what I taught anyway.

I hope you have Mrs. Bishop’s successor all lined up and signed on the dotted line. No matter who she is, she will not be able to fill Mrs. Bishop’s shoes. Mrs. Bishop’s personality and experience will be hard to match.

Edna [Spinney] wrote that five Pine Mountain students were on the Berea dance team going to California this summer. That should make Miss Christensen’s heart swell with pride and joy and give wings to her feet this year (though I don’t believe she really needs them, do you?)

Good wishes for the coming weeks, so busy for both of you. May the year be a good one. (But don’t stay too long. Remember.)

Cordially yours,
Minerva M. Sparrow

Of course my love to both of you. Margaret is always included.

[sparrow_m_024.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 1 of 3

Mattapoisett, Mass.
Aug. 1, 1946

My dear Miss Wells:
Your very kind note I found waiting for me when I returned from camp. Just how much your words of commendation mean you can not know, for I have felt quite discouraged at the results of my labors, especially this past year. The Pine Cones have not been so well written, nor did I feel that the commencement program was equal to those–

[sparrow_m_024a.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 2 of 3

–of the previous years.

The general level of the classes is noticeably lower each year, as one must expect, considering the kind of teachers who are willing to accept rural school work. There surely is an opportunity for Pine Mountain to do some effective work training teachers, at least for the five schools which the county is only too willing to turn over to our supervision.

As to my successor, I can only hope she will enjoy the work as much as I have. She will probably often wonder what on earth I taught. I received a letter–

[sparrow_m_024b.jpg] Handwritten letter, page 3 of 3

–from a Co-op recently who wrote she was “aloud” two weeks’ vacation. By fall I wonder what the poor dears will be writing.

Thank you again for your gracious note. It lightened my feeling of discouragement to know that you think I have made any contribution to Pine Mountain.

Sincerely yours,
Minerva M. Sparrow


Go to MINERVA M. SPARROW CORRESPONDENCE 1943-1959 Part II (Images 025-047a)

See Also MINERVA M. SPARROW Biography